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Challenging behaviour used to be described as ‘problem behaviour’ or ‘difficult behaviour’ or ‘socially unacceptable behaviour’. But in recent years, the term challenging behaviour reflects the fact that some of the behaviours are a challenge to professionals, teachers, carers and parents.
That means the person showing these behaviours is not a ‘problem’ to be fixed, or someone doing something ‘wrong’, but that the behaviour is a sign that something isn’t working.
It shows that there is some need being unfulfilled, or a problem with communication.
In essence it is that there is something going wrong that needs to be addressed, not that there is a person doing something wrong who needs to be stopped.
In other words, behaviour is challenging if it causes harm to the person or others, or if it stops them fulfilling some aspect of their lives, such as:
It is the impact of these behaviours that makes them challenging. Challenging behaviour can be:
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